Pop quiz: what’s a managed fund? Do you know the ins and outs of the big debate between passive and active investment? What does ‘ETF’ stand for?
If you’re not too sure, you’re not alone. The reality is, most Australians wouldn’t confidently know their way around concepts in the investment world, which have for too long been confined to retirees or the ultra-rich.
But new innovations in fintech are giving rise to investment platforms that suit investors at any level, whether you’re a complete newbie or whether you’ve dabbled before.
We rounded up the very best micro-investing apps and platforms to help you make your money work.
For the novices
If you’re starting out in the investing world for the first time, these apps will help you make money in the background without any of the complexity.
Raiz Invest (formerly known as Acorns Australia)
Perhaps the well-known micro-investing app, Raiz Invest takes little sums of your money, such as loose change, and invests it for you so you don’t even have to think about it.
How it works: You can either “invest the change from your daily purchases”, set recurring payments, or invest a big lump sum and watch it grow. Your money will go towards one of six investment portfolios of your choice, depending on your risk appetite: Conservative, Moderately Conservative, Moderate, Moderately Aggressive, Aggressive or Emerald (the ethical option). The portfolios invest in ETFs listed on the ASX.
Minimum investment: $5
Fees: For account balances under $5,000, account fees are $0, but a maintenance fee of $1.25 a month is charged. Accounts above $5,000 can expect account fees to be 0.275 per cent per annum but $0 in maintenance fees. Underlying issuer fees may apply for investing in the moderately aggressive portfolio.
FirstStep is a similar offering to Raiz in that you can invest loose change as little as $1. Where Raiz’ roots are from America, FirstStep is homegrown, born and bred from the University of Sydney’s accelerator program.
How it works: With FirstStep, you can pick between its Defensive, Balanced and Growth options, which invests in three Vanguard ETFs. You can also pick ‘themes’ to personalise your portfolio, such as ‘technology’, ‘health’, ‘Asia’ or ‘ethical’, which are each portfolios from leading ETF providers BlackRock and BetaShares.
Minimum investment: $1
Fees: $1.25 a month for accounts under $5,500, or 0.275% a year for accounts over $5,500.
Becoming a property investor in Australia has never been more in reach. This award-winning platform allows regular Aussies to tap into the property market by investing in just a ‘fraction’ – or a ‘brick’ – of a property.
How it works: A residential property is broken down into 10,000 ‘Bricks’. You choose which ‘Brick’ to invest in (or let BrickX choose for you), and make money through changes in property prices and net rent income. You also earn capital returns by selling your Bricks.
Minimum investment: $50
Fees: There is a transaction fee of 1.75 per cent when you buy and when you sell a brick.
For the dabbler
Investors who have tried their hand at investing before but are looking for an easier, more hassle-free way to go about it may consider the below platforms for a simpler way to make superior returns.
AtlasTrend is an investment platform created by veterans from the financial services industry that revolves around the idea of investing in global trends.
How it works: The platform allows investors to invest in a cluster of actively monitored and managed funds revolving around popular themes such as ‘Big Data Big’ (technology, software, cloud, data, etc) or ‘Clean Disruption’ (renewable energy, electric vehicles, battery technology). At the time of writing, AtlasTrend only offers a desktop app – no mobile app exists yet.
Minimum investment: $1,000 lump sum or $100 per month.
Fees: 0.99 per cent yearly, plus trigger-based performance fees.
Touted as Australia’s lowest flat-fee brokerage service, SelfWealth is part trading app part online investor community. With a steeper minimum investment price point, this one is for more experienced traders.
How it works: It seems fairly straightforward – after your application for a SelfWealth Trading account is approved, you can start buying and selling shares, amend your orders, see your order history, analyse stocks and performance, and estimate earnings. Since member profiles are anonymous, you may also follow other investors and see their portfolios through an optional subscription fee.
Minimum investment: Orders for securities cannot be lower than $600.
Fees: $9.50 per trade, regardless of trade size.
Simply Wall St
Simply Wall St isn’t actually an investing platform – rather, it’s a tailored dashboard created by New Investor Al Bentley that aims to support investors by presenting complicated data in easy-to-understand visuals.
How it works: Simply Wall St visually presents data and analysis about a company in a stunning, slick infographic (check it out in this example portfolio). He’s also developed the ‘Snowflake’, which shows you a company’s strengths and weaknesses in a snapshot.
Minimum investment: N/A
Fees: The Learner plan is free, but to fully make use of the platform’s services, the Investor plan is at $174 a year or $15 per month. For the serious investor, the Pro plan is $480.
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